UAE's investment in solar power

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rendering of the future Masdar City from the air

I've read articles on this here and there before but there was another one yesterday on the subject, and is a good example of long-term thinking. Countries with large energy wealth should all take note. Good investments for a country include paying off foreign debt, investment in technology and infrastructure, and long-term planning like this for the day the energy wealth finally runs out.

Steven Geiger, director special projects at Masdar, talked with me by phone today. He said that Masdar aims to produce 1 gigawatt of panels by 2013 by adding plants, most likely in the southwest United States and Asia.

The first phase of investment will help bring solar power to Abu Dhabi and other Mideast oil producing countries, many of which still use oil to generate electricity, a practice that is wasteful and costly. In addition, Geiger said, there is a “staggering the growth of power demand” in the UAE.

But the solar plants Masdar envisions will have the capacity to produce way more than those Mideast markets will buy. Masdar is looking to become a player in the global solar market. Until now, Geiger said, Abu Dhabi had made three modest investments in solar thin film companies. By contrast, he said, “this is 100 percent built and owned by Abu Dhabi.”

For more information on Masdar (مصدر‎), see the Wikipedia article of the same name.


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